Please help me get a flight quickly & cheaply!
June 28, 2012 8:42 PM   Subscribe

Please help me get a flight quickly & cheaply! This may have been answered in a previous question - if so, please point me in the right direction, but I need input quickly.

Saturday I need to travel with my 80+ year old father from Phx to the NYC area (Newark or LaGuardia) on a direct flight. We'll be attending a funeral, with services beginning on Sunday. We can be a little flexible on the return date (as long as it's a direct flight), but I can't stay for more than a week. I'm guessing Priceline is not an option because of our limited travel dates and the need for a direct flight. In a quick search of round trip airfare it looks like this will cost a minimum of $700 each and possibly as much as double that amount.

So my question is:
What's the cheapest way to make airline reservations given our limited flexibility?

Are there other solutions I should be considering? I searched for bereavement fares but the info was mixed, and the requirements for written confirmation from the doctor could be awkward to fulfill.

I'm focusing on a direct flight because changing planes or having extended stopovers will really stress out my already distressed Pop. I need this trip to be as easy as possible without breaking the bank.
posted by kbar1 to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (17 answers total)
Looks like right now Kayak can offer a $589 US Airlines flight from LaGuardia. Not a lot less than $700, but at least a bit cheaper.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 8:51 PM on June 28, 2012

I'm seeing lots of flights starting at $589 (returning on 7/4) and then many more at various points up to $700 (and this is including JFK airport in the search, which you left out of your criteria. I'm not sure why, because it's a viable option).

I'm using to search. I think you're probably smart to search Priceline and Hotwire if you do it in the next 12 hours or so; you may be able to find something there.

Bereavement fares, in my experience, are a mixed bag. It's worth calling an airline about their policy though, especially if they show up on kayak as having seats available on a flight you particularly want.
posted by yellowcandy at 8:53 PM on June 28, 2012

Sorry, that should read from PHX to LaGuardia to PHX.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 8:55 PM on June 28, 2012

Search for Southwest flights.

I don't think they turn up on the regular travel searches, and it is easy to find flights out of PHX on Southwest.

I believe you can fly Southwest into either Newark or LGA.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 9:11 PM on June 28, 2012

I guess I shouldn't rule our JFK. On the map, the other two airports looked closer to our destination (Rockland County), and since relatives will be picking us up at the airport, I wanted flights into the closest airports. I just now compared the distances on Google Maps and all 3 airports have similar drive times.
posted by kbar1 at 9:14 PM on June 28, 2012

Oh, and I just took a USAir flight direct from PHX to JFK.

I just did a quick search, and it looks like you can get tix one way from USAir direct from PHX to NYC. It looks like there are some $419 fares left there.

Perhaps you could book return flights on Southwest, as they allow you to be more flexible (and they will be cheaper).
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 9:16 PM on June 28, 2012

Your father may be elgible for a discount.
Also, don't be shy to ask for assistance or a wheel chair in between gates.
I have used Travel Advisor nthey have good filters that let you really customize your search.
posted by calgirl at 9:17 PM on June 28, 2012

JetBlue also doesn't show up on kayak.

I've, for my last few trips, looked at kayak, then on the airline directly, & gotten a better deal on airline site.
posted by tilde at 9:17 PM on June 28, 2012

If you are trying to get into NYC, I order the three airports in terms of convenience: LGA, JFK, Newark. That same order holds up pretty much for the price of cabs if you choose to take a cab into NYC instead of public transit.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 9:19 PM on June 28, 2012

$419 on Jetblue from PHX to JFK. That is at least better than $700!

Condolences on your loss. Travel safe.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 9:23 PM on June 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

Try I have had great success finding affordable last minute flights on that website.
posted by shannonigans at 11:13 PM on June 28, 2012 [2 favorites]

Recent Reddit IAMA Delta/KLM/Air France reservation agent. He says Bing and skyscanner
posted by Blake at 4:22 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

I don't know if Bereavement Airfares are still a thing, but you could inquire.
posted by peagood at 4:58 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, sorry - you did search. I missed that. I was also going to say that this is a case where picking up the phone and speaking to a person, even using a travel agency or the most likely airline, will get you farther. When our family did this recently (in Canada, Vancouver to Toronto) one sympathetic person took care of a few tickets for us without needing to provide the anything from the hospitals. Also, hotels will offer discounts for the same reason, so if you do need to get a note, it does double duty.
posted by peagood at 5:02 AM on June 29, 2012

Call a real person at a real airline. A friend of mine was able to get a bereavement fare on Delta last year. I think they are still available.
posted by hworth at 5:09 AM on June 29, 2012

If you're taking a cab, getting from Newark to anywhere in NY is pretty expensive. Like, *starting* at $80. On the other hand, renting a car there is cheaper than in NY (though it doesn't include minimum liability coverage). If you're cabbing, I think LGA is probably your best bet, although JFK isn't crazy either. It probably won't make so much difference. You can also line up car service (and fees) in advance. If you haven't set up your own car service, then only take an official cab from the official taxi line. The private drivers 'bargain' a price and regularly screw anyone who think they can get away with cheating.
posted by Salamandrous at 5:32 AM on June 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Bereavement fares are largely a waste of time if you know what your travel plans are and they aren't likely to change. They are generally a small discount off full-fare, refundable fares. That's a useful discount if you need to fly home in a hurry and don't know how long you're going to need to stay so you need to be able to change your return date. But it's way more expensive than booking a non-refundable fare, which is what people travelling for personal reasons usually book.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:56 AM on June 29, 2012

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